How five artists use the power of music to take action on climate
The power of music can be harnessed to inspire and mobilize people, organizations and decision-makers across cultures and regions to #TurnItAround for a healthy, green and just future for all.
From artists speaking out and creating their own advocacy and work on climate, to youth participation and the change towards more sustainably conscious events, music has become an essential platform for positive action.
We all know that climate change is a threat multiplier when combined with conflict — it destroys livelihoods, drives displacement, widens inequalities, and undermines sustainable development — including the goal of zero hunger by 2030. Climate action requires bold and transformative leaps forward and one of the ways to raise awareness and bring about this positive change is through music.
We’d like to highlight 5 artists who live up to our call to #TurnItAround for climate action. These legendary performers support the global climate agreement and are powerful voices of hope, helping everyone envision a thriving, sustainable, just world for everyone.
Take a moment out of your day to shine the spotlight on these performers as well as other climate conscious artists that you admire — tag us at @SDGAction and use the hashtag #TurnItAroundand we may add your post on our channels too.
1. Yoko Ono
“I love you, Earth, you are beautiful, I love the way you shine. I love your valleys, I love your mornings, In fact I love you every day.”
— Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono’s “I Love You, Earth” is a declaration of love for our planet and home, serving as a reminder for all of us to take action to protect the planet.
Yoko Ono is one of the great artists of today, renowned for peace activism, and for her pioneering conceptual work encompassing instruction pieces, performances, installations, music and film. Follow Yoko on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
2. Patti Smith with Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon
Jesse Paris Smith, together with her mother, the iconic artist Patti Smith, and cellist Rebecca Foon, performed Patti’s song ‘Wing’ to inspire action on climate. Through their song ‘People Have the Power’ they are sending a strong message that everyone can dream big and take action to make the change.
In 2014, Jesse Paris Smith and cellist Rebecca Foon founded Pathway to Paris, a non-profit organization dedicated to turning the Paris Agreement into reality and offering tangible solutions for combatting global climate change, helping cities to design and implement ambitious climate action plans to go 100% renewable/zero emissions by 2040. Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. Her daughter, Jesse Paris Smith is a writer, activist, musician, producer. Follow Pathway to Paris on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
3. Kety Fusco
“I am grateful to convey through my art and music respect for the environment we live in and our adaptation to nature.”
— Kety Fusco
Through her performances of “Rubato” and “Medusah” from the snowy peaks around San Bernardino in the Swiss Alps, on the border between Central and Southern Europe, she highlights one of the few places left untouched in one of the most densely populated continents on Earth to promote the importance of climate action and protecting life on land.
From the beginning of her musical career, electro-harpist Kety Fusco stood out for her love of nature and support for women. Kety Fusco’s work on warping classical harp into a contemporary electronic instrument, makes ethereal, mind-boggling electronic music using nothing but her instrument and a small set of analogic effects. Follow Kety in Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
4. Tenzin Choegyal
“This is a question for humanity. Our world is our home, and it is vital to take an active role in protecting our planet, including the Tibetan plateau — the Roof of the World.”
— Tenzin Choegyal
Tenzin keenly shines the light on the environmental challenges facing Tibet through his music. He became aware of global warming and the importance of nurturing our planet from an early age as he saw ancient glaciers melting and old growth forests being destroyed.
“I grew up hearing Tibet being referred to as the roof of the world, so my natural thought as a child was that we need to keep this roof intact. ‘If the roof leaks what would we do?’ — this is not just a question for a single individual or an entire nation.”
“I hope it evokes the oneness of the humanity under this one big sky, as it is in our own benefit to look after our communal home, this blue planet, the mother earth so we can turn this around and move to a sustainable future for ourselves and for the future generations.”
Tenzin Choegyal is a Tibetan/Australian artist, composer, activist, musical director and cultural ambassador and supporter of Pathway to Paris.
5. Ben Harper
“Music is the last true voice of the human spirit. It can go beyond language, beyond age and beyond color … straight to the heart and mind of all people.”
— Ben Harper
Ben Harper believes in music as a universal language that unites people and reflects human solidarity.
Ben Harper is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and a supporter of Pathway to Paris. He plays an eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, reggae, and rock music and is known for his guitar-playing skills, vocals, live performances, and activism. Follow Ben on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Shine the spotlight on performers and artists that you admire — tag us at @SDGAction and we may add your post on our channels too. Don’t forget our hashtag #TurnItAround.
By Christina Samson, UN SDG Action Campaign